We have all done it. Heck, I redid it a few days ago. We’re running errands or it’s time for our lunch break, so we leave the office, drive through a fast food drive-thru, have a combo meal, and instead of waiting until we get home home or back to the office (you don’t want it to be cold, do you?), we reach into the bag and take what we ordered. Then the real fun begins. We take both hands off the wheel while cruising 50 miles per hour down the road and try to keep the car between the lines while steering with one knee so we can unwrap our sandwich and start swallowing. There’s also the added thrill of a game I like to call, “Can I eat this burrito without getting some on my pants?” But, by doing this, are we breaking an Indiana law?
Is it illegal to eat and drive in Indiana?
Technically, no. By that I mean there is no law written in the books that you cannot eat while driving a moving vehicle. So technically you could eat a Thanksgiving meal on your lap while cruising down the highway if you wanted to. I don’t recommend it, but you could do it and there’s nothing a law enforcement officer could do about it.
Now, although eating and driving aren’t against the law, if it affects how you maintain control of your vehicle, that’s how you might see red and blue lights in your rearview mirror.
According to The Barnes Firm, citing a study by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, a driver is three times more likely to be involved in a crash while eating or drinking, and eating or drinking while driving increases the risk of having a car accident. by 80%.
Indiana Distracted Driving Laws
Here’s how Indiana defines distracted driving:
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that a motorist engages in that has the potential to distract them from the primary task of driving.
The state goes on to list a variety of activities that could cause a driver to lose sight of their primary responsibility while behind the wheel – to operate it safely. The list includes using a cell phone (Indiana is a “hands-free” state), talking to passengers, personal grooming and, yes, eating.
So feel free to try a combo meal before heading back to the office or the next stop on your shopping list, but be aware that if it causes you to struggle to keep your car between the lines or cause an accident, it could turn out to be a very expensive meal.
[Sources: The Barnes Firm / IN.gov]
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